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19-10-2019 | Original Paper | Uitgave 2/2020

Journal of Child and Family Studies 2/2020

Adolescent Risk and Protective Factors Predicting Triple Trajectories of Substance Use from Adolescence into Adulthood

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 2/2020
Jung Yeon Lee, Wonkuk Kim, Judith S. Brook, Stephen J. Finch, David W. Brook
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Since the number of individuals who use substances in the United States has markedly increased every year, substance use is a significant public health concern. The current study examines the possible risk and protective factors associated with triple comorbid trajectories of longitudinal alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis use from age 14 to 36.


A community sample of 674 participants (53% African Americans and 47% Puerto Ricans; 60% females) were recruited from the Harlem Longitudinal Development Study. Multinomial logistic regression analyses were conducted to examine the associations between the risk (low self-control, peer drug use) and protective (parent-child attachment, family church attendance) factors at age 14 and membership in the triple trajectory groups derived from a multivariate growth mixture model.


Low self-control and peer drug use were associated with an increased likelihood of being a member in the triple comorbid trajectory groups compared to the reference group (i.e., low alcohol, no tobacco, and no cannabis use). On the other hand, parent-child attachment and family church attendance were associated with a decreased likelihood of being a member in the triple comorbid trajectory groups compared to the reference group.


Treatment programs for adolescents who use substances may be more helpful if their parents and/or friends could also participate together with the adolescent, rather than only the adolescent participates in the treatment programs. Further research is needed to gain a greater understanding of the conceptual nature of the relationship between earlier risk and protective factors and later substance use patterns.

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